Don’t Ignore Your Out Of Office: It’s Giving Clues To Your Personal Brand

That’s it. The summer break is over. The kids are back at school and an army of parents are back at their desks, switching off their out of office messages until the next holiday season rolls around. (Expect Christmas paraphernalia in the shops any time now.)

But just because you take a break from your job, it doesn’t mean you have to take a break from delivering your personal brand. That very out of office message can be a great way to convey clues in your absence – something more than the humdrum ‘I’m away from [date] until [date]. If your email is urgent, please contact [some poor sucker] in my absence or I’ll reply on my return.’

Instead, you can take inspiration from these nine examples that are a good illustration of how you can stand out from the crowd and raise your profile in people’s inboxes.

For instance, if humour is part of your personal brand, you might try a cheeky:

  • I am away from the office right now. Unfortunately, I will be back tomorrow. 
  • I am out of the office, returning next week. I have incredibly easy access to a phone and email, but I assure you it will not be used for work purposes. 
  • I’ve run away to join a different circus.

Of course, if that’s not your style, you may want to convey something else, such as:

  • I’m away today but promise I’ll reply on my return – you can expect a response on Monday. [Giving clear clues of a promise that will be kept.]
  • Much as I’d prefer to reply in person, I’ll be away from my desk for three days, so please accept this automatic reply as a temporary substitute. [Showing the personal touch is part of this brand.]
  • Having promised my wife I’d disconnect from work and enjoy our holiday, I won’t be replying to any emails until I’m back at the end of the month.  [Family values clearly stated.]

Or if you want to provide a conversation starter, to help build rapport so people can better connect with your brand, give a clue to life outside the office (before following with the usual content about dates and responses):

  • I’m moving house today, so much as I’d rather be in the office replying to your email, I’ll be lugging furniture and unpacking boxes.
  • I’m taking a few days away from my desk to ferry my son and his belongings to university.
  • I’m away camping with my family, far from any sort of wifi coverage, so while your email has hit my inbox, I can’t yet do the same.

For me personally, I don’t use an out of office when taking time off work, preferring to respond and keep on top of my inbox. (Which in itself, probably gives you a fair chunk of insight into my brand!)

What out of office replies have tickled your fancy? Or do you yourself use a different approach? There’s a comment box below that’s perfect for you to tell us.

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